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Party place becomes family friendly for hip parents

Joanna and Al are hip, young professionals who live in an architecturally unique house with an open concept layout, several catwalks and open stairwells connecting different levels. The couple love to entertain and the house has served as party central for their friends. But with the arrival of a new baby into their lives, their place has changed from a haven for late-night parties into a space for late-night feedings.

Soon after becoming parents to baby Aaron, the couple realized their house would have to undergo some changes, particularly their sunken living room. They wanted to turn the comfy but sadly outdated space into a modern room in which they could relax and entertain visiting grandparents. But they also wanted it to function as a safe, kid-proof environment. So I called in my crew and got set to create a room that will prove you can have kids and style.

The living room is adjacent to an open kitchen, which the couple recently revamped in black and white. To complement this adjoining space, I decided to use black and white in the living room, but kick up the color quotient a notch. To this end, I chose a peacock-inspired feature tile in iridescent black, purple, teal, gold and fuchsia (for the fireplace) and used it as the jumping off point for the room’s color palette.

I painted most of the room in bright white, put up halogen lighting and laid down a natural-stained strip maple hardwood floor. Then I got busy designing three zones: a living area, a dining area and an office area.

In the living area, I created a feature wall with a fireplace that has a black quartz mantle and hearth, and is clad in the colorful feature tile. On one side of the fireplace I put in black wood veneer cabinetry for storing baby toys and on the other side I painted the wall fuchsia and installed a flat-screen TV.

In the sitting area around the fireplace, I installed a variety of lush furniture. A white, easy-to-clean leather-like sofa and matching love seat, a funky teal chaise and a chair in luscious blue upholstery all help create a cool, loungy vibe. On the wall behind the sofa I put up wallpaper in teal and gold paisley for an added wow factor.

In the dining area, I installed a chic black table that can expand for six or contract for two, and surrounded it with great chairs in the room’s feature colors.

Next, I created a small office area under the stairs that includes a desk with a painted glass top and a new, funky chair.

But this room is not just about style — it is also about substance. With this in mind, I installed some much-needed baby-proofing. I clad the back of the hazardous open stairs with wood, added tempered glass panels to the side of the stair railing, and put in some functional (but ultra-hip) baby accessories, including a high-style high chair and the world’s funkiest baby rocker.

After adding a host of fabulous accents and accessories, including a two-story remote control blind, a stunning piece of art on the wall and a hanging mobile (for adults and kids), this room was complete.

With some bold strokes of color, some funky finishes and fabrics, and some very special considerations for the baby, the once lackluster and slightly hazardous living room became a cool space for relaxing, tending to the baby — and maybe even hosting a few future late-night parties. How divine!

Interior decorator Candice Olson is host of HGTV’s “Divine Design.” For more ideas or information visit www.divinedesign.tv. Her column is syndicated by Scripps Howard News Service.

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